Parker D. Trask


The strength of the sediments in the Gulf of Mexico concerns the engineer in planning drilling operations. The length and number of piles to support drilling platforms depends upon the strength of the mud. Likewise, the size and type of anchors used in securing service barges is influenced by the strength of the sediments. In the early stages of developing the offshore oil resources in a new area, the engineer is handicapped by lack of information as to the nature of the sediments that must support his structures. As time goes on, he can base his decisions more and more on experience gained in previous construction operations in or near the area with which he is concerned. He gradually acquires a mass of data on pile loading tests, settlement and deformation of existing structures, and laboratory analyses of undisturbed samples. He then can design his structure with confidence. However, in the early stages of the drilling program in any large offshore region, such as the Gulf of Mexico, he is confronted with uncertainties, many of which are difficult to resolve because of lack of definite information upon the strength of the muds.


oil and gas exploration; offshore platform construction; sediment strength

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